Commons Network releases its new policy paper for Europe today. It is an urgent plea to Europe and a call to arms for all activists and Europeans.

‘Supporting the Commons: Opportunities in the EU Policy Landscape’ is an appeal to the European Union to truly become an ally to commoners and commons-thinkers. With this paper, Commons Network lays out a clear unifying political vision for the future of Europe, a way for the EU to renew itself as a democratic and constructive force.

Commons Network co-director Sophie Bloemen: ‘A Europe by and for the people will have to be a Europe that protects and supports the commons. We hope this publication will help make European leaders aware of the urgency of this unmistakable fact, while also giving some pointers on how to go about it.’

The current crisis facing the European Union demands new, unifying and constructive narratives. The commons as way of thinking encapsulates these narratives in one fresh political framework. The ‘commons’ is an emerging paradigm in Europe-one that embraces reciprocity, stewardship, social and ecological sustainability. It is also a movement- one that can reinvigorate progressive politics and contribute to a more socially and ecologically sustainable Europe.

The commons perspective stands in stark contrast to the policy priorities that currently dominate in Europe. The European political scene is built around individualism, private ownership and zealous free market-thinking. Right now, major fault lines are starting to appear in that dominant worldview. Commons often emerge from the bottom up; they are dependent on community processes, and their logic is mostly at odds with the EU’s institutional logic.

‘We believe, however, that there is an important role for EU politics and policy to create the right incentives, to remove hurdles and to bring support to this re-emerging sector’, says David Hammerstein, Commons Network co-director.

So how do we as Europeans move forward? This policy paper reflects some of the EU policy barriers and opportunities in the areas of participatory democracy, the urban environment and knowledge in the digital environment.

Download the paper here (or the executive summary here).

Accompanying this paper, Commons Network will soon publish a strategy document & tool that will give an overview of the various policy processes’ timelines, key actors, and entry points.

What’s next for the commons movement? Commons Network is one of many organisations collaborating in the European Commons Assembly, which will reconvene in Madrid in October. Partnering with the Transeuropa Festival, commoners, activists, thinkers and politicians from all over Europe will gather in Madrid to continue building this movement. You are cordially invited to join us.

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